Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway, the new film which tells the story of the WARRIOR woman, Sagarika Bhattacharya. ILUK is thrilled to be promoting this amazing story. The film stars Rani Mukherjee and tells Sagarika’s harrowing story: that of a Bengali woman who follows her husband to Norway and where her two little children are taken away by social services because she dared to raise her babies in a “traditional Indian” style.
Firstly, Rani Mukherjee, an actress that I have watches over the years in ‘cotton candy’ Bollywood films, is absolutely extraordinary. She captures the heartache, trauma, and sheer terror of Sagarika Bhattacharya with amazing authenticity. I could not stop crying throughout. I cannot imagine how a woman could have survived fighting for THREE YEARS to get her own flesh and blood back in her arms. We’ve all read about the gut-wrenching pain Sagarika went through. As a mother and someone who meets and works with women who have gone through similarly traumatic experiences, I identified so much with what Sagarika went through.
Above everything else, and very much like the victims that we deal with, she was not just failed by an entire system – local government, child and welfare services, even the school she sent her babies to. Most APPALLINGLY she was failed miserably by those she called family, starting with her husband – the man she entrusted her life to by moving to Norway, as well as his extended family. Those cowards only had one response when she wanted to fight for her children and her rights: they said she was “mad” and “mentally unstable”.
My advice to women, don’t let anyone say you’re mad or mentally unstable. All you’re doing is fighting for what is right and for what is yours! Also, don’t listen to anyone who criticises you for “following your own culture”. Our culture is what makes us and it is OUR CULTURE that helps us to become the best we can be WHEREVER we go in the world. So embrace it, be proud of it. When we leave our motherland, we leave behind friends, family, relatives and our circle of protection. The only thing we are able to carry with us is our Culture which we want to hold dear to our hearts so that we can give pass it on to our children even when they are thousands of miles away from their roots.
As a special footnote, a very special mention of the late Sushma Swaraj, our former Foreign Minister who fought on behalf of not just Sagarika but several women that ILUK were helping as well. She may have been small in stature but my god she was a woman of immense courage and righteousness. Two warrior women: Sushmaji and Sagarika.